By Deron Hamel
When the Hamilton Bulldogs announced in February they’d be relocating to Brantford for the next three seasons, lifelong sports fan Bob Beazley was happy he’d now have a chance to enjoy hockey games close to home.
And Bob got his first taste of Bulldogs hockey recently when he attended the team’s premier open practice at the Brantford Civic Centre, where he’d not seen a game since the Brantford Blast played in the arena prior to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Bob also used to be a regular at Brantford Alexanders’ homes games before the club folded in 1984, so having a top-tier hockey team back in the city is welcomed news for him.
“I haven’t seen a hockey game in a long time,” says Bob, noting he prefers attending hockey games over watching them on TV.
For the next three seasons, the Hamilton Bulldogs will be called the Brantford Bulldogs while their home arena, FirstOntario Centre, undergoes renovations.
During his visit to the Brantford Civic Centre, Bob watched the Bulldogs practise and perform drills. He also picked up a Bulldogs jersey while at the arena and even posed for a photo with Brantford Mayor Kevin Davis who was also attending the practice.
Bob is also one of about 2,400 people who have signed up for Bulldogs’ season tickets for 2023-24. He says he’ll learn at the end of March if he’s one of the lucky ones to get tickets. If not, Bob says he’s going to try to attend as many games as he can.
Aside from being a fan, Bob also has a passion for playing sports. He has been involved with 10-pin bowling and lawn bowling, and he spent many years playing floor hockey until injuries got in the way.
“I had to pack it in; I got hurt too many times,” he says.
During his floor hockey days, Bob even had a chance to play against Brantford’s most famous son, Wayne Gretzky, the NHL’s all-time leading scorer and points leader.
Bob admits playing against the Great One was no easy feat, adding he, like so many NHL players, couldn’t take the puck away from Number 99.
“He was a great player,” Bob says.
Lead photo cutline: Pictured is Bob Beasley with Mayor Kevin Davis.
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